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Green tea: genmaicha

Part of a system, I am

Posted by genmaicha on 2006.08.20 at 16:06
Current Music: Coldplay, "White Shadows"
Tags: , ,


It was with sincere irritation but no great surprise that Tekiya found someone waiting for her when she returned to the hotel in Blackthorn she'd occupied for the evening. Obviously they'd have someone checking up on her, but this was only postponing her much-needed shower. Blackthorn is well named, the agent thought annoyedly. I think I found a few dozen of them with various body parts.

The flame-haired agent sized up the nondescript woman all in black who had risen from a seat at the small table her hotel room was equipped with. No need to ask how she'd gotten into the room; it was no difficult matter to accomplish entry into a security system this lax. Nor did she recognize her visitor, but that was to be expected; either a disguise or, more likely, it was an agent she had never met before. All she did by way of reaction was incline her head with just enough respect to pass muster, an effort that did not go unnoticed by her visitor.

The woman smirked as she crossed to stand in front of Tekiya. "I see you've had a long day, so I will keep this brief. We know you'd much rather be working on other jobs. After all, weren't you a Rocket executive?"

"Special Elite Forces," Tekiya corrected, with effort to keep her teeth from clenching. She was no desk-slave; she was a honed blade, and it frustrated her to no end to have her abilities squandered in such meaningless pursuits.

"Ah, right, the SEFs," the woman amended with a small smile. "That does make more sense than exec. You probably chafe to be a mere agent now, hmm? Well, your efforts are indeed noticed, and it's time that the new weaponry began trickling down from the higher ranks to the grunts. Like so." And she produced a familiar shape from her pocket, a ball that rested in the palm of her black-gloved hand.

Tekiya's irritation at being termed a mere grunt was forced down by her growing curiosity at this unexpected windfall. The Pokéball (if that's what it was) had no color scheme she'd ever seen; it was black on the bottom, as if in a negative of the usual white, and the top half was an odd, viscous combination of blue and purple that seemed to shimmer like an oil slick. Tekiya took the ball without a word, inclining her head toward the agent in question.

"Safe to let out? Well, it will fit in this room, if that's what you mean," the agent replied. "It's a Shadow Pokémon; specificly, a Scyther. Female, and well-trained to follow commands. No wanton disobedience, no spirited refusals. Think of it less as a Pokémon and more as a weapon, one which you command completely, and you'll be not far from the truth." The agent smiled in satisfaction. "Shadow Pokémon production has gone so smoothly that we can afford to pass them out to deserving grunts. You're one of the first. Congratulations."

Tekiya processed all of this quickly, not taking her eyes from the Pokéball she now held. She'd heard of these Shadow Pokémon, a pet project of the corporation that had taken control of all the organized crime rings, such as her own Team Rocket. OMNI had a perfectly legitimate presence in the field of Pokémon-related research and development, though the company was only a front for its criminal dealings, and it was these Shadow Pokémon that had given it the edge over the other gangs and thieves. A chance discovery which was quickly placed under wraps, knowing that the general public, let alone the Pokémon rights groups, would never stand for a process that removed the spirit, the spark from a Pokémon and turned it into little more than an obedient fighting machine. Those trainers who had tried, thoughout time, to treat their Pokémon as such had always found that eventually their Pokémon would rebel, that their spirits would not stand forever for such heartless treatment. But with these Shadow Pokémon, their hearts were locked and heartless treatment was of no concern to them. Not that they had any concerns at all. So long as they were cared for in all physical senses--just as one might carefully tend to an heirloom blade--they had no concerns. Or so it was said. Tekiya had encountered only a few of these creations, always briefly and in shows of strength from their new commanders, but she had learned quickly as much as she could of these spiritless Pokémon that gave OMNI its dominence over the criminal sector, and would be its tool to domination over even more.

And now she held one in her hands. A Scyther, at that; by no means out of place on her team. She'd never thought that she might be entrusted with such a thing. And yet...she was not filled with elation at this mark of her status, but with a sense of resistance. Her Pokémon were her partners, just as surely as Seth had been, but this Pokémon sounded like nothing more than her surveillance equipment, or the dagger she wore at her side at all times. She knew how Kijo-Gouka would surge forward to protect her, how Reisui would eye his foes with scorn, even how the quirky Ditto Mayakashi seemed to anticipate the demands Tekiya placed on it to assist her in disguising herself and would make adjustments without being asked. Could this Shadow Pokémon be anything like that?

She would have to find out. "My gratitude," she spoke softly, "and please pass it upward. I realize the implied respect in this gesture, and I will prove myself worthy of the honor." She'd become skilled at voicing such niceties without sounding noticeably sarcastic.

The agent raised a brow, but the thread of slightest disrespect was too thin for her to follow. Instead, she said, "Your targets were just augmented with new Pokémon of their own, after all. Of course, the both of them are fire types, but we couldn't anticipate what the professors would give them." Ah, so her report had already been read. Good to know. The agent went on. "And, of course, your new Pokémon is of much stronger levels than theirs. But I haven't the time to stick around to chit-chat," she suddenly said in a crisp tone. "Be sure to keep on your targets tomorrow, though there should be time for you to test your new weapon as well as test them. We suggest you make use of any opportunity presented."

Tekiya quickly stepped aside, sensing the tone of dismissal, and the agent swept past her without a glance back. The flame-haired agent noted the small bulging sack at her superior's side; more Shadow Pokémon to be delivered? If so, she was one of the first "grunts" to receive one only by some small matter of time. She watched as the agent slipped out the door, and then counted long enough for the agent to have left the building, before clicking open the Pokéball.

Most Pokéballs issued their occupents in a flash of reddish light. This was a sullen violet-black in hue, and it was a good match for the Pokémon that emerged. She expected to hear a distinctive cry, maybe a buzz of wings, but the Pokémon within stood in a ready position, staring into space as if expecting to see an enemy there. And much to her surprise, the Scyther was not the grass green she expected. It was a deep, dark green, with a sort of violet sheen to its carapace, but in low light levels it would be effectively black. It did not turn to look at her, though Tekiya had the distinct sensation that it was awaiting orders, like a computer with a blinking cursor. She shivered reflexively and scanned the Scyther with her OMNI-issue P*DA, reading out the information. Specially bred, well-laden with learned moves and TMs, and level 41. Impressive. It was female, but no name was in place. As the readout prompted her to enter a name, she paused briefly in thought.

She's...just as the agent said. She's more like another blade to my collection than another Pokémon for my team. Tekiya felt another shiver coming on, but forced it down. She didn't like how coldly calculated this Scyther was, and some lower brain function warned her to not show weakness or discomfort. The blank name field beckoned her, and with a sudden flash of inspiration she tapped in the name.

"Kyoujin," she spoke aloud as she entered the name, and the Scyther turned its head slightly toward her, as if responding to the name she had only just placed in her P*DA. That was extremely unsettling. She paused, then lifted the Pokéball and tapped the trigger. "Return." In another sullen violet glow, the oddly hued Scyther disappeared, and Tekiya discovered that she could breathe again.

"Damned unsettling," she muttered, attaching the odd Pokéball to her belt. She removed the first in the lineup, and in a much more normal flicker of red, her old friend appeared. Tekiya was very comforted by the low rumble in the throat of the Houndoom, and the friendly swish of the whip-like, spaded tail as the devildog turned toward her. "Guard, but relax," she gave in command, and the Houndoom immediately sprang onto the bed nearest the door, curling up in what seemed to all the world a relaxed position, but Tekiya knew from experience that Kijo-Gouka would be on her feet and ready to defend her mistress in less than a heartbeat if it was needed. Not that Tekiya expected anything, but after that unsettling Scyther, she felt a yearning for the company and protection of her oldest friend.

Reminded of the thorns and sweat and remaining camo-paint on her face as she caught her reflection in the mirror, Tekiya spoke to the Pokémon, "I'll be taking a bath. Let me know if anything needs my attention." There was a low bark of agreement; Kijo was trained to alert her owner to calls on her P*DA or disturbances that could involve her. And only with the Houndoom watching her back did Tekiya feel she had the luxury to relax and take a much-needed bath.

---------

Note: We're borrowing a bit from the GameCube Pokémon games in this story with the addition of Shadow Pokémon, but they won't be entirely like those in Colosseum or XD: Gale of Darkness. :)

-Lux

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